Guzman, who was Mexico's most wanted criminal and boss of the
feared Sinaloa Cartel, was caught in the beach resort of Mazatlan
with help from U.S. agents in a pre-dawn raid on Saturday.
The dramatic capture brought to a close his time as one of the
world's most notorious organized crime bosses, and was a major
victory for the Mexican government in a long, brutal war that has
killed more than 80,000 people since 2007.
The day after Guzman's arrest, the spokesman for a U.S. federal
prosecutor said he planned to seek the capo's extradition to face
trial in the United States, but it is still unclear whether that
will happen, and extradition proceedings can take years to complete.
On Monday, Guzman's lawyers filed an injunction to block any move to
extradite him to the United States. The injunction was approved on
Tuesday but it remains unclear how long it will last, raising the
possibility that the drug lord could remain in Mexico for a while.
"As long as the judge presides over the legal process, he can't be
extradited," a court official who spoke on the condition of
Jesus Murillo, Mexico's attorney general, said on Tuesday that
Guzman's potential extradition will be analyzed by the government,
but that he does not expect a quick resolution.
"I do not think it will happen soon," Murillo said in a radio
Mexico's top prosecutor added that he received a phone call on
Monday from his counterpart in the United States, Attorney General
Eric Holder, who he said mentioned the possibility of extraditing
Past extradition cases have dragged on for years.
Due to widespread corruption in the ranks of Mexico's court system
and police, many major drug traffickers have been turned over to
face U.S. prosecution and imprisonment.
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In 2007, suspected Sinaloa trafficker Sandra Avila, also known as
"the Queen of the Pacific," was arrested in Mexico but was not
extradited until five years later.
After she pleaded guilty in the United States and was jailed for a
year, Avila was returned to Mexico last year where she was tried
again and imprisoned a second time.
Guzman, 56, is being held in the Altiplano prison in the State of
Mexico, outside the capital. He gave a brief statement to a judge on
Sunday, and is being kept in a cell alone in a maximum security
Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001, where he continued to
lead his lucrative drug-running business, with the help of some of
The United States had a $5 million bounty on Guzman's head. His
cartel has smuggled billions of dollars of cocaine, marijuana and
methamphetamine into the United States, and fought brutal turf wars
with other gangs across Mexico.
In addition to facing multiple criminal charges in Mexico, Guzman
also faces charges in Illinois, New York and Texas.
(Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Gabriel Stargardter,
Simon Gardner and Lisa Shumaker)
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